Aborted Anderson High costs revealed

SHETLAND Islands Council lost more than £5.5 million on its failed attempt to build a new Anderson High School at the Knab, a freedom of information request has revealed.

The council terminated the contract with Irish builders O’Hare & McGovern last December after paying them a total of £3,811,474.13 for the work they had carried out.


Builders were already on site at the Knab in 2009 when the council bowed to public pressure and changed its mind at the last minute, switching the site to Staney Hill.

By this time the council itself had spent £1,731,416.42 on staff time, external quantity surveyors, project managers and advisors, legal fees and travel and subsistence.

The breakdown of other costs were:

  • O’Hare & McGovern staff – £327,819.59
  • Architectural design – £1,054,424.38
  • Structural engineering – £554,613.31
  • Mechanical and electrical engineering – £547,232.35
  • Cost engineering – £295,280.82
  • Other associated professional fees and costs – £1,032,103.68

The council said that there were no additional cost for terminating the contract.

Lerwick South councillor Jonathan Wills said that at one point the council was looking at a final bill of £63 million for building a new secondary at the Knab.


Now plans to build a school at the Clickimin camp site are being estimated at £36 million, just over half the 2009 figure.

“If the council had stuck to its original decision in the early ‘90s, a sensible well thought out decision, to go to the Clickimin area we would never have wasted this money,” Wills said.

“It’s just a terrible pity and it underlines the difficulty this council is working under to try and get our finances back in order. It’s just an extra burden we have to bear.”